Orders of pasta, pizzas, and bread sticks are not going to bring back 34-year-old Kyle Seidel. But they might help heal a wound, at least a little bit.
“I have been watching the support of everyone through Facebook and have been crying all night just from seeing all the love and support,” Kate Seidel wrote on Facebook Tuesday night. “I am overwhelmed by the response of the community. Kyle was an amazing man and I just know he is so proud of how everyone is coming together and trying to help me and his children. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!! Gob bless each and every one of you.”
Tuesday night, East Lyme’s Pizza Cucina held a benefit to honor Seidel and her three children, aged 8, 6 and 2. The entire staff worked for free and all the profit went to the Seidel family, which is still reeling from the loss of its father, Kyle Seidel. Kate Seidel has worked at the pizza restaurant for more than six years.
“The benefit was very successful,” said Robert D’Agostino, owner of Pizza Cucina. “The support from the community was just overwhelming.”
On December 21, Kyle Seidel’s body was found in the parking lot of Waterford’s Family Bowl. Seidel’s death was later ruled a homicide by gunshot wound, and left Kate Seidel without a husband and his three children without a father.
Tuesday, Pizza Cucina did what it could to help the Seidel family by hosting the benefit. D’Agostino said he preferred to keep the amount of money that was raised private but said it far exceeded his expectations as it was the busiest night in the history of Pizza Cucina.
So many calls were coming in for food that the restaurant actually had to turn people away, D’Agostino said. Those who were served sometimes waited an hour-and-a-half for a takeout order, he said, but it was a small sacrifice considering the circumstances.
“It exceeded our expectations,” D’Agostino said. “We had a goal, and it exceeded it.”
D’Agostino said the entire staff wanted to hold the fundraiser because Seidel is “an excellent employee and a wonderful person.” Seidel, in her Facebook post, said she didn’t attend the event because the wound was still so raw to her, but she was very grateful for it.